While heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers will shed thousands of workers in the shift to zero-emission offerings, these job losses will be more than compensated through new positions in the growing energy and infrastructure sectors, a new study has found.
The study, carried out by Boston Consulting Group for green group Transport & Environment (T&E), looked at the consequences of European manufacturers delaying the switch away from combustion engine vehicles to electric and hydrogen engines – a move that would open the door for foreign competitors, it was found.
The study comes amid a debate among EU legislators on future CO2 standards for new heavy-duty vehicles. Under a European Commission proposal tabled in February, CO2 reduction targets for trucks would start with a 45% reduction compared to 2019 levels by 2030, scaling up to 65% by 2035 and reaching 90% by 2040.
According to the study, the end of internal combustion truck manufacturing will see some 35,000 thousand job losses among European heavy-duty vehicle manufacturers. While complex combustion engines require hundreds of parts, electric vehicles are comparatively simpler, requiring fewer workers to put together.
However, the increase in electric vehicles will see demand for electricity skyrocket, as refuelling with petrol and diesel is replaced by plugging into the grid.
To meet the extra demand from the green transition, Europe must greatly increase its electricity output, which will see a corresponding boom in jobs in the energy sector according to Boston Consulting, which estimates that an additional 55,000 jobs will be created in renewable electricity generation.
A further 6,000 jobs will be added in the field of infrastructure, as Europe looks to install some 185,000 charging points by 2035, while 3,000 jobs will be created in battery cell production.
Economically, the study finds that the EU economy will benefit from shifting to zero-emission vehicles, due to the higher-value supply chains. Despite losing 35,000 in workforce size, truck makers are expected to contribute an extra €3 billion in GDP after the reorientation towards hydrogen and electric vehicles.
“The transition to zero-emission trucks is good for jobs and the climate. But the size of the economic gains depends on the speed of the transition,” said said Sofie Defour, freight director at The European Federation for Transport and Environment.
Source: Euractiv, BCG